The history of the internet can be summed up easily into four different stages, or waves:
For those that have been around for a while you know this to be true. Yahoo! and a few other sites started out by simply creating a massive directory of sites – this was the first web and it’s what made Yahoo! such a large player in the beginning. Then, the directories became too large to manage and so search was born, the second wave.
Then, people got tired of that and realized that there was a social layer of interaction that was possible. The rise of “Web 2.0” was born as the third wave. Facebook, Twitter, and an infinite number of social networks suddenly showed up and only a few remain of those originals today.
Finally, we are currently in the wave of mobile – it’s mobile everything as it’s the most progressive and exciting technology crest that we’ve seen build. A “computer” in every pocket and a browser just arms-reach away.
The question, though, for entrepreneurs, is what is next. What will the 5th wave be? Sure, we haven’t even see mobile reach it’s full potential yet but for those that make a living at predicting what the next wave will be before it’s even born we are passionately curious about what’s on the horizon.
I think one possibility is that local might be one of the next candidates. Sure, we already have a few geo-local players but they are terrible. Their products and some of their stock prices show obvious proof of that. I don’t think it’s been done well and it’s not a “player” yet.
Closely aligned with local idea is education and this idea of IRL or elements of being fully present and physical with technology. Education is the hidden gem of the tech world as a trillion dollar industry that few have been able to really tap into. Education may be the 5th wave.